the short story project

Dead Dog at Midnight

Amir Tzukerman On:

Dead Dog at Midnight by Kostas Katsoularis

In many respects, as stated by one of the Greek critics, Kostas Katsoularis can be regarded as an “Athensnographer”: the plots of many of his books and stories take place in the center of Athens, and their protagonists are the residents of the city center. Nevertheless, it seems that the central theme in Katsoularis’s writing is the confusion and disorientation that characterize the characters’ consciousness and the relations between people, even relatives, in the current reality, and that most of his protagonists put themselves in situations that unnerve and sometimes even turn their already frail self-image upside-down. There is something paradoxical in “Dead Dog at Midnight”: the narration is simple and straight-forward, even if the surprising twists in the plot and the measured dispersal of details gradually build a kind of calculated tension; the two childhood friends that stand in the center of the story are described with clarity and meticulousness; the reality is the familiar mundane Athenian reality; and the argument in the heart of the story, which binds the volatile Athenian present to the great fire in Mount Parnitha five years earlier, sounds both completely logical and incredibly poetic—and yet the essence remains vague, the outlines blurry, and the motives undefined. Nothing becomes truly clear or understandable, everything is ambiguous. Nevertheless, it seems that throughout this strange and foreboding Athenian night, the narrator acquires the ability to accept the essential ambiguity and ambivalence and find some kind of peace, even if nothing is solved—as in life, things might not end, but they also can’t go on beyond a certain point.